Lynnwood Link extension alternatives, courtesy of Sound Transit.
Lynnwood Link extension alternatives, courtesy of Sound Transit.

The Sound Transit Board is meeting this afternoon to make final decisions on the Lynnwood Link Light Rail extension. Renee Staton wrote a great case for why this alignment needs a NE 130 Street Station. But she’s not the only one with Seattle Transit Blog, Seattle Subway, Seattle Light Rail Review Panel (LRRP), and others joining the chorus. In fact, the LRRP recently summarized their points to the Sound Transit Board saying that:

The LRRP supports locating a station at NE 130th St rather than stations only at Northgate and NE 145th St for the following reasons:

1. Compared to the station under construction at Northgate or the proposed station at NE 145th St, a station at NE 130th St better serves the neighborhoods in and around Bitter Lake and Lake City, two growing hub urban villages that offer affordable housing options and have transit-dependent populations.

2. Because of its lower traffic volumes, planned bicycle facilities, and opportunity for bus route restructuring, NE 130th St is a superior location than Northgate and NE 145th St for connecting non-automobile modes with light rail.

3. A station at NE 130th St offers the potential for greater increased ridership than captured in the FEIS. This and other benefits outweigh the one-minute increase in travel times.

Luckily, the Sound Transit Board has already proposed language that accommodates a future NE 130th Street Station. The amended resolution (R2015-05) of Section 1.A. currently is proposed to read as:

The route will begin on elevated guideway at the terminus of the Northgate LinkExtension. It will cross over 1st Avenue NE and enter Interstate 5 right-of-way just north of the NE 107th Street on-ramp to northbound I-5 and continue on elevated guideway over NE Northgate Way adjacent to the east side of I-5, and then transition to a combination of retained cut, retained fill and elevated structures. The route will continue along the east side of I-5, partially in interstate right-of-way and partially on adjacent properties, to NE 145th Street. , crossing over NE 130th Street on elevated structure. Low cost infrastructure improvements that are both consistent with the ST2 plan and necessary to avoid substantial disruption of future light-rail operations will be made to facilitate construction of an elevated station near NE 130th Street if approved. The NE 130th Street bridge over I-5 will be replaced, and 5th Avenue NE and the northbound I-5 off-ramp near the bridge will be reconfigured, to accommodate retained cut light rail guideway through this area.

But Mike O’Brien, Seattle Councilmember and Sound Transit Board Member, wants to go further. His proposal would strike the last sentence of the subsection. In other words, there would be no future requirement to replace the NE 130th Street bridge or reconfigure the off-ramp. It’s easy to understand why this language would be removed. With an elevated crossing, bridge replacement and off-ramp reconfiguration become entirely unnecessary. Together, the Boards’ proposal and O’Brien’s are solid for NE 130th Street. But this isn’t just about NE 130th Street; the Board has also proposed making 220th Street SW in Snohomish County a possibility in the future, too.

Earlier this week, the Sierra Club entered the fold to build upon the Lynnwood Link Light Rail extension advocacy efforts. The Sierra Club not only supports NE 130th Street Station, but argues that Sound Transit Board should move the NE 145th Street Station to NE 155th Street instead and fully fund the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge. We agree with their approach which seeks to have a light rail station that:

  • Has a safer location for transit riders;
  • Emphasizes local bus transfers and kiss & ride;
  • Has more dependable local access and minimizes conflict and delay from congested traffic; and
  • Eliminates an expensive and incompatible parking garage.

It’s not too late to influence the Sound Transit Board. Contact the Board or fill out the Sierra Club’s message to let the Board know that you support superior station options for the Lynnwood Link Light Rail extension. Better yet, if can make the Board meeting this afternoon, please show up and make your voice heard.

Thursday, April 23
1:30-4:00pm
Union Station, Ruth Fisher Boardroom
401 S. Jackson Street
Seattle

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